After finishing with the school’s best record in four years, 13 members of the Maricopa High School Rams football team – led by two-way player Johnny Johnson Jr. – were voted onto the 2015 Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Division III All-Section I team by the conference’s coaching staffs.
For much of the year, Maricopa sat atop Section I. The Rams’ combination of a powerful offense and stubborn defense led them to the school’s best start in over a decade (6-0). Opposing coaches took notice as four members of the team were named to the All-Section I First Team.
Johnson Jr., a team captain, was the only player in the section named to both First Team Offense (wide receiver) and First Team Defense (defensive back). Johnson finished the season with 782 receiving yards, 238 rushing yards and 13 offensive touchdowns. He also led the section with five interceptions.
“Johnny is a great football player,” McDonald said. “He doesn’t often get the credit he deserves because of his lack of height. He just plays the game hard though and he shows a lot of character. He was spoken highly of by opposing coaches, and he’ll be missed.”
Other players selected to both offensive and defensive teams include senior all-purpose player Isaiah Pedro and senior center and team captain Nikolai White. Pedro was named to the First Team Defense (defensive back) and Second Team Offense (wide receiver), while White was named to the Second Team Offense (center) and Honorable Mention on defense (defensive line).
“It’s encouraging that we have so many juniors [named to the All-Section team], and that we have seven defensive players coming back next year” McDonald said. “We also have a lot of sophomores that were in starting roles this season that will get more opportunities moving forward. We’ll still be missing four starters on the offensive line though, so guys will need to step up for us to build off this success.”
MHS players honored are:
First Team Offense:
Quarterback – (Sr.) Aaron Owens
Wide Receiver – (Sr.) Johnny Johnson Jr.
Offensive Line – (Sr.) Andrew Earle
First Team Defense:
Defensive Back – (Sr.) Johnny Johnson Jr.
Defensive Back – (Sr.) Isaiah Pedro
Second Team Offense:
Wide Receiver – (Sr.) Isaiah Pedro
Center – (Sr.) Nikolai White
Second Team Defense:
Defensive Line – (Jr.) Dakota Halverson
Linebacker – (Jr.) Jackson Stensgard
Offensive Line – (Sr.) Austin Troyer
Wide Receiver – (Jr.) David Owens
Offensive Line – (Jr.) Nicholas Carbajal
Linebacker – (Jr.) Claytin Valenzuela
Linebacker – (Jr.) Eanis Olmos
Defensive Line – (Jr.) Johnny Smith
Defensive Line – (Sr.) Nikolai White